Olli Kangas, the head of research at the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), has shed light on changes introduced to the upcoming basic income experiment since the publication of a preliminary report on the experiment on 30 March, 2016.
The preliminary report, he reminds, explored the possibility of introducing basic income nationwide, rather than locally, at a couple of income and tax levels.
“The model that is currently being circulated for comments is considerably less ambitious,” he writes in a blog on the website of Kela. Basic income will according to him be tested on a sample group of unemployment benefit recipients, targeted at individuals rather than households, and carried out with a sample size that will be limited to 2,000–3,000 people.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, in turn, has revealed in a press release that the plan is currently to offer a monthly basic income of 560 euros to 2,000 randomly-selected members of the target group, who would be obliged to participate in the experiment in order not to distort the results.
“As it would be an obligatory experiment, the minimum level of basic income should be set to a level comparable to daily allowances and labour market subsidies. The basic income would be tax free income for its recipients [and] would be disbursed by Kela,” it states.
Kangas estimates that the main reasons for the changes in the experiment are related to constitutional and other legislative obstacles and the funding and schedule of the experiment.
The recipients of unemployment benefits from Kela, for example, were defined as the target group on grounds of budgetary and scheduling constraints, he says. “It will therefore be possible to use current benefits as a funding base for the experiment in accordance with the government proposal and to select a randomised sample group from the up-to-date registers of Kela,” he explains.
He also admits that a few corners have been cut in order to ensure the experiment can be launched at the start of next year.
“The Government's decisions will determine whether or not any possible further measures will be introduced and whether or not the experiment will be expanded to also cover other population groups,” says Kangas.
Additional changes to the proposal remain a possibility as the proposal is currently being circulated for comments by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi